Vizio M320NV LCD HDTV Review
The Vizio E320VL is an entry-level TV that lacks features but put up some good numbers on a lot of our tests.
We measured the Vizio M320NV's black level at 0.33 candelas per square meter (cd/m2). This is really bright for a low black level. A good black level would fall around 0.1 cd/m2—the M320NV's black level is three times brighter than this.
The reason the TV's black level was so high is because most modern Vizio LCDs use an auto-dim feature, called Smart Dimming. If you want a deep black, you'll have to turn this feature on. Unlike most HDTVs, it won't necessarily negatively impact picture quality in other areas, but the processing isn't perfect: if you're watching something that frequently switches between dark and bright scenes, the change in backlighting can become distracting. Additionally, this feature doesn't actually increase the picture's contrast ratio: it's dimming all the bright details around the black area. More on how we test black level.
The M320NV had a pretty good peak brightness: 328.98 cd/m2. Typically you need 200 cd/m2^ for optimal viewing, a threshold the M320NV clears by a healthy margin. Having a low peak brightness means bright areas could have poor detailing, and that external light will wash out the image onscreen. The M320NV's high brightness ensures good detail in bright scenes and no loss of performance due to ambient light. More on how we test peak brightness.
We measured the Vizio M320NV's contrast ratio at 970:1, which is a pretty average contrast ratio. For most viewers, this performance will be fine. If you want to chance the Smart Dimming feature, you might be able to squeeze some deeper blacks out of the TV, but as we mentioned above, it doesn't actually increase the contrast ratio of the image. More on how we test contrast.
The TV didn't have much trouble maintaining a black level (unless the Smart Dimming feature is enabled). The small bumps in the graph below are very minor, and won't be apparent to the naked eye. More on how we test tunnel contrast.
The TV's peak brightness didn't waver, regardless of how much white was onscreen. More on how we test white falloff.
We saw a few uniformity issues with the screen, but they weren't horrible. On a dark screen, we saw some minor cloudiness and some minor flashlighting in the corners. An all white screen had some very, very minor dimming around the edges. These issues are mainly for cinephiles to worry about: the average Joe won't likely notice it. More on how we test white falloff.
Greyscale gamma measures how the TV handles all the grays between the deepest black and brightest white. When you plot all the gray shades, they should have an even, uniform slope of about 2.1.
We measured the M320NV's greyscale gamma at 2.68, which is a bit aggressive. If you look at the graph below, you'll notice the curve is flatter towards the dark end of the spectrum. That means there's very little differentiation between dark colors: this means dark areas won't have much detail, and will look flat. This lack of detail in the darker shades means the rest of the curve progresses a bit too quickly. This means shades won't flow evenly into each other. You could see this effect in a smooth gradient: instead of an even, seamless transition, there would be noticeable borders between shades. More on how we test greyscale gamma.
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